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Terroir and tomatoes

Proper pizza needs proper tomatoes

Our food is fast, but we never cut corners, especially not with tomatoes.

The concept of terroir, the way that farming practices, seed varieties, land, soil and climate combine to create flavour, is well known in wine circles. At Franco Manca, we believe terroir is just as important when it comes to tomatoes. We’ve travelled hundreds of miles, tasted countless varieties and met many passionate farmers to hunt down our perfect tomatoes. It’s all part of the many hours that go into making our pizzas. Because we don’t believe fast food means cutting corners.

Here’s a little about why we choose the tomatoes that we do.


San Marzano Dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino D.O.P.

Often copied, but never matched, San Marzano tomatoes are sweet, delicately acidic and intensely tomato-y. This makes them perfect for balancing tangy sourdough bread and rich meats and cheeses. Their unique flavour is down to their variety and their location. They grow in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, benefiting from the mineral rich volcanic soil, the salty sea breeze drifting up from the golf of Naples, and long, hot, sunny Italian summers.

True San Marzano tomatoes grow here and only here – you can’t just take the seeds, grow them somewhere else and get the same result. These tomatoes are so special that they are protected by Italian DOP (protected designation of origin) status. They are one of the few varieties of tomato that are approved by Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. According to AVPN, anything else just isn’t Neapolitan pizza.


Pomodorini del Piennolo del Vesuvio DOP

Also grown in fields around Mount Vesuvius, Pomodorini del Piennolo del Vesuvio DOP benefit from soil that’s rich in volcanic minerals, sand and crushed seashells. This gives them a savoury, intensely mineral flavour with the faintest hint of shellfish. Their delicate tang means they are best when barely cooked, making them ideal for topping pizzas. Like San Marzano, Piennolo del Vesuvio DOP are approved by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana for use on true Neapolitan pizza.


La Fiammante organic tomato “pomodorino biologico”

For half a century, La Fiammante, also based on the slopes of Vesuvius, have been obsessed with canning the perfect tomato, capturing the freshness and flavour of the summer crop to be enjoyed throughout the year. We tasted hundreds of organic tomatoes, and these were the best time and time again. Their tomatoes are prized for their balanced flavour and tomato-iness. And their organic varieties boast higher concentrations of minerals and vitamins (particularly calcium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc), and a fragrant sweetness. La Fiammante are also committed to supporting farmers throughout their supply chain and paying workers fairly. Which we think makes their tomatoes taste all the better.


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